westdance: Pied Dances - 2005

Larsen, Matt matt.larsen at certive.com
Tue Oct 26 09:18:31 PDT 2004

> Would that be so bad?  As long as it was *heavily* taught at 
> everything during the year.  Every event prior, all the dance 
> practices, maybe the Saturday and the Sunday of Crown, it 
> might be interesting to see a dance that required more time 
> to learn.  Though to be honest, I don't consider any of the 
> Italian dances, as in Villanella or Contrapasso,  a 10 -15 
> minute learning curve, even if one knows the standard steps 
> well.  Less so if there is no familiarity with them.  

Well, that's more or less my point.  When I teach Villanella 
and Contrapasso at a Collegium, I usually take an hour to teach
both of them.  In the same hour, I can more or less get through
Gracca, but it's pushing it a bit.  In 10-15 minutes, you can't
really teach any of them, but for Villanella and Contrapasso
you can give people enough to at least get the pattern, or to
brush up on what they learned in some class at last Collegium
or something.  But with Gracca, even if they've seen it before
it's not really enough time unless they've been coming to dance
practice regularly.

> In 
> fact, I've been hearing gripes about the expectations of the 
> dance instructors thinking that running through a dance a 
> couple times is adequate.  But we have a lot of very 
> beginning dancers here.  

Hmmm...  Well, when people are starting out with things, they
need to go over them more than when they're familiar with them.
I remember when we started doing 16th c. Italian with Fiamma.  I
think we worked on it for 2-3 months, practicing it almost every 
week.  Now, it seems like a fairly simple dance.  Part of that is
just that we've gotten better a teaching it, but a lot of it is
that we have a core of dancers that have done it and other 16th c.
Italian enough that they have a base to build from.

All that means two things.  First off, the teachers down in Darkwood
need to remember that the dancers need to go over things more.  Not
only does that mean fewer dances in a class, but it also means going
back the next week to dances that were taught the week before, basically
working on the same dance for a month or more before putting it aside
to work on something else.  We do this some in the Wednesday night
classes, but it will need to be done more for newer dancers.  Second,
it means that the newer dancers have to patient while they learn the
groundwork.  And, since some people will come more regularly than
others, the more regular people will need to be particularly patient,
since they will learn, remember and get bored with a dance long
before the whole class does.  To get this patience, the dancemasters
need to let people know about these problems, and to show them what
the plan is to make it work anyway.  And the dancers need to let the
teachers know when they're too far over their heads (thanks, Na'arah!).

Mmmm...  Rereading your post, Na'arah, it's not clear whether you're
talking just about dance practices in Darkwood, or also those on
Wednesday nights and classes at Collegiums/A&S.  Is it mostly the
Darkwood practices or is it also the latter?


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